The Government of Uganda has scheduled a verification exercise of all older persons aged 80 years and above, starting this January.
The exercise, according to the gender ministry, will take place in 73 districts, plus Kampala. The exercise is in preparation for a national roll-out of the Social Assistance Grants for Empowerment (SAGE).
SAGE is already being implemented in 61 districts across the country. The programme is part of the Expanding Social Protection (ESP) programme implemented by the gender ministry and it provides a monthly grant of sh25,000 per older person, to support their welfare.
According to a statement issued by the SAGE secretariat under the gender ministry on Friday, payments of new beneficiaries in new districts will take place between January and March 2020.
Simon Omoding, the ESP communications advisor at the gender ministry, said: “after the verification, registration and enrolment of the elderly in the 73 districts and Kampala, the total benefiting districts will be 134.”
The verification exercise kicks off early January and ends in February. The Government took a decision to roll out the SAGE programme to all districts in the country, starting this financial year.
The countrywide roll-out is anticipated to add over 200,000 beneficiaries on the 167,000, who are already on the scheme.
According to the Government, SAGE national roll-out will lift over 1.2 million older persons and their households out of abject poverty.
The Vice-President, Edward Ssekandi, launched the roll-out on October 1, while presiding over the International Older Persons’ Day celebrations in Kumi district.
Although the decision was to cover people who are 80 years old and above, the Government plans to gradually bring down the age cap of the beneficiaries to 65 and 60 for Karamoja, within the next three years.
At the same time, all older persons already on the programme since 2010 will be kept, even if they are younger than 80 years, the ministry stated. SAGE was first implemented in the 15 pilot districts – Amudat, Apac, Kaberamaido, Katakwi, Kiboga, Kole, Kyankwanzi, Kyegegwa, Kyenjojo, Moroto, Nakapiripirit, Napak, Nebbi, Yumbe and Zombo.
According to the Government, SAGE national roll-out will lift over 1.2 million older persons and their households out of abject poverty. years before 45 more districts were added.
The verification exercise, Omoding said, will be conducted by the ministries of gender and public service, in coordination with the National Identification and Registration Authority (NIRA).